Murder and historical murder in Bromley


Bromley is the largest of London’s thirty-two boroughs, and it might just be the most dangerous if you believe the local press.

Murder victim Debbie Linsley

On March 23, 1988, a young woman was murdered on a train travelling between Bromley and Victoria Station. Debbie Linsley was stabbed repeatedly through the heart, in what was apparently a motiveless random killing. As is often the case with such murders, the trail went cold, but in 2002, the case was re-examined, and advances in forensics have led to what is believed to be a full DNA profile for the killer. It was a similar development that pinned the 1992 murder of Rachel Nickell on sexual psychopath Robert Napper, ending a decade and a half long torment for the one-time prime suspect Colin Stagg.

There is now a £20,000 reward on the head of Debbie Linsley’s killer, an individual who almost certainly has no criminal record, but if he is so much as arrested at any time in the future, he will have some serious explaining to do.

Earlier this year, former West Wickham denizen Geoffrey Bucknall announced he had solved a murder that was recorded as an accidental death. In 1944, Mr Bucknall was a mere schoolboy when 14 year old Tony Ganley was found dead lying face down in a flowerbed at Dulwich. He was thought to have suffered an epileptic fit, but while researching something else, Mr Bucknall found a clue that led him to believe that a man who is thought to have been responsible for a 1967 murder in a different part of the country was also responsible for the death of his friend. The suspect, Allen George Philip Austin, committed suicide at the time. He had a history of sexual assaults of this nature, and a Mr Austin was also not only a chemistry teacher at Tony Ganley’s school, but was quite likely the last person to see him alive. If these two men named Austin turn out to be one and the same, then it seems likely Tony Ganley was indeed murdered.

While solving the above murder – if so it be – is little more than an academic exercise, there is a far more recent one for which someone needs to be brought to book. Two years ago almost to the day, Samuel Guidera was murdered near Penge East Station. Like Debbie Linsley, he was stabbed in the heart; like Debbie Linsley there is now a £20,000 bounty on the head of his killer; and also like her the police are in the dark as to the identity of the perpetrator, even though there have been a number of arrests, which are routine for this sort of investigation.

In spite of this, the police never close the file permanently on a case like this, so we should not be surprised if further down the line a more significant arrest is made.

[The above article was first published April 2, 2013. Its original title was (the grammatically incorrect) Murder and historic murder in Bromley.]

Back To Digital Journal Index